Now, I've talked a little bit about co-op in the past, but I haven't really touched on how the process can change in the mystical land of the Interwebs. In a digital environment, you won't have front-of-store promotions, aisle endcaps, or tables of discounted titles; instead, you'll have banner ads, e-couponing (those of you who subscribe to the Barnes & Noble or Borders coupon e-mails will be familiar with these), front-page splashes and placement (for example, if you go to barnesandnoble.com right now, you'll immediately see promotions for Christopher Moore, Michael Lewis, Harlan Coben, and John Grisham), &c, &c.
Since I'm not as involved in the e-aspect of the industry, I'm afraid I can't tell you much about the pricing structure for these kinds of co-op placement (or even whether they can be understood as "co-op" in the traditional sense). What I can tell you, however, is that you want this kind of attention for you and your book, and so it's worth asking your agent to look into it for you. Things I think you may want to ask (and please, any agents who are reading: feel free to jump in via comment!):
· How are we handling e-book rights? If the publisher is acquiring e-book rights as well as print book rights, will the e-book and physical book be available at the same time? Are there any marketing opportunities we can exploit for the e-book, the print book, or both?
· What kind of co-op (if any) do you think might be realistically available? (You'll want to ask this much later down the line, as publishers don't generally start firming up the co-op for a book until about five months before on-sale.) Will there be an opportunity for electronic co-op (e.g. on Amazon) and what will it be?
· What do you think is appropriate in terms of blogging/tweeting/&c? Are there any e-venues where guest-blogging might generate considerable interest? What about social networking sites like Facebook?
· What will the royalty structures look like for the e-book vs. the print book? (This may differ depending on a number of factors, including whether your e-book is available under the agency model or the wholesaler model.) Will my book be available on Amazon? The iBookstore?
And so on and so forth.
Additional comments/questions/vitriol/praise in the comments!